apple developer account：U.S. Supreme Court brings end to Trump Twitter fight
,FILE PHOTO: A photo illustration shows the suspended Twitter account of U.S. President Donald Trump on a smartphone and the White House in Washington, U.S., January 8, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/Illustration/File Photo
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(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday brought an end to a legal fight over former President Donald Trump's effort to block critics from following his now-frozen Twitter account, deciding the dispute was moot and throwing out a lower court's decision that found he had violated constitutional free speech rights.
None of the justices on the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, dissented from Monday's action. But conservative Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a separate opinion echoing concerns made by Republicans about the power of social media companies like Twitter, saying the court needs to step in.
"We will soon have no choice but to address how our legal doctrines apply to highly concentrated, privately owned information infrastructure such as digital platforms," Thomas wrote.
Thomas said social media companies, which under U.S. law have leeway as private entities to moderate user content as they see fit, might have to be treated more like businesses that are subject to public accommodation laws, which require all customers to be treated equally.
Trump had appealed after the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that he had violated the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment by blocking his critics on the social media platform. Trump, a Republican, left office in January, replaced by Democratic President Joe Biden.
With Trump no longer president, the justices declined to hear arguments and resolve the case on the merits, tossing out the 2nd Circuit decision.
Throughout his presidency, Trump had regularly used Twitter to promote his agenda and attack detractors. Twitter banned Trump from its service days after a mob of his supporters attacked the U.S. Capitol in a deadly riot on Jan. 6.
Republicans and Democrats both have criticized social media companies but often for different reasons, with Republicans saying these platforms have discriminated against conservatives while Democrats contend that the companies have not done enough to remove disinformation and extreme content.
Some Republicans have called for the companies to be stripped of legal protections they are accorded under a measure called Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. The law gives companies immunity over content posted on their sites by users.
Trump made his innumerable posts on the Twitter Inc social media platform an important way of communicating both before and during his presidency.
Before his permanent suspension, Trump's @realDonaldTrump account, which he opened in 2009, had more than 88 million followers. Twitter said it expelled Trump from its platform "due to the risk of further incitement of violence."
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